ASEE Public Policy Statements

ASEE Statement on Planned Change to Authorized Duration of Stay for F-1 Visa Holders

October 3, 2020

American innovation is the envy of the world in large part because American research universities, as engines of that innovation, attract the best and brightest engineering students the world has to offer. Most Engineering students in the US – regardless of country of origin – require more that 4 years to complete a Doctoral or Baccalaureate degree. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has provided notice that it intends to propose a new rule in fall 2020 establishing a maximum period of four years for authorized stay for international students and other holders of certain nonimmigrant visas. Though " intended to decrease the incidence of nonimmigrant student overstays and improve the integrity of the nonimmigrant student visa," a likely effect will be to increase uncertainty and cause disruption to the study plans of the nearly 60% of engineering doctoral students who are on such visas as well as the many international students pursuing master’s or bachelor’s degrees. Limiting the term of visas such students will likely constrict the flow of talent to our shores, reduce degree completion within our universities, and diminish the quality and quantity of work that fuels our nation’s economic growth and global competitiveness. We urge careful study and caution before implementing such a rule.